The US military termed the Russian jet’s manoeuvre as “reckless”. “Several times before the collision, the Su-27s dumped fuel on and flew in front of the MQ-9 in a reckless, environmentally unsound, and unprofessional manner,” the US military said.
Russia denied playing any role in the crash of the drone, which the US says was on a routine surveillance mission. “As a result of a sharp manoeuvre… the MQ-9 unmanned aerial vehicle entered an uncontrolled flight with loss of altitude and collided with the surface of the water,” the Russian Defense Ministry said.
Defense officials said the drone has not been recovered. But the Pentagon declined to say whether any effort was underway to gather debris or pieces of the Reaper.
When a Russian fighter jet collided with a large U.S. surveillance drone over the Black Sea on Tuesday, it was a rare but serious incident that triggered a U.S. diplomatic protest and raised concerns about the possibility Russia could recover sensitive technology.
White House national security spokesperson John Kirby said the US “obviously” refutes the Russian’s denial, adding that the US is trying to recover the fallen drone. “Without getting into too much detail, what I can say is that we’ve taken steps to protect our equities with respect to that particular drone — that particular aircraft,” Mr Kirby said as quoted by CNN.